Federal Statutes



Federal Statutes Relating To Crimes Against Children


The following are summaries from the Federal Criminal Code and Rules under Title 18 of the United States Code (USC). Federal law defines a "minor" as a child under the age of eighteen unless specified otherwise.

Section 228. Failure to Pay Legal Child Support Obligations
It is a misdemeanor offense for any person who willfully fails to pay a support obligation with respect to a child who resides in another State, if such obligation has remained unpaid for a period longer than 1 year or is greater than $5,000. It is a felony offense for the same violation if such obligation has remained unpaid for a period longer than 2 years, or is greater than $10,000. It is a misdemeanor offense for any person who willfully travels in interstate or foreign commerce with the intent to evade a child support obligation, if such obligation has remained unpaid for a period longer than 1 year or is greater than $5,000. It is a felony offense for the same violation if such obligation has remained unpaid for a period longer than 2 years or is greater than $10,000. The court shall order mandatory restitution under Title 18 USC Section 3663A --Mandatory Restitution to Victims of Certain Crimes in an amount equal to the total unpaid support obligation as it exists at the time of sentencing upon receiving a conviction under a violation within this section.

Section 1073. Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution
Whoever moves or travels in interstate or foreign commerce with the intent to avoid prosecution, custody, or confinement after conviction for the commission or attempted commission of a felony. Congress has declared Section 1073 as applicable in cases involving parental kidnapping and interstate or international flight to avoid prosecution under applicable state felony statutes. In these cases, a federal warrant based on a state kidnapping charge may be issued for the arrest of the abducting parent.

Section 1201. Kidnapping
Whoever unlawfully seizes, confines, inveigles, decoys, kidnaps, abducts, or carries away and holds any person who has not attained the age of eighteen when the person is willfully transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

Section 1204. International Parental Kidnapping
Whoever removes a child under 16-years of age from the United States or retains a child (who has been in the U.S.) outside the United States with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights. Under this statute the term "child" is defined as a person who has not attained the age of 16 years and "parental rights," with respect to a child, means the right to joint or sole physical custody of the child. Circumstances when the abducting parent is fleeing from an incidence or pattern of domestic violence, or when a parent fails to return a child for reasons beyond their control and has notified the other parent within 24 hours, are excluded from prosecution under this Section.

Section 1462. Importation or Transportation of Obscene Matters
Whoever brings into the United States, or any place subject to the jurisdiction thereof, or knowingly uses any express company, other common carrier, or interactive computer service for carriage in interstate or foreign commerce any obscene, lewd, lascivious, or filthy book, pamphlet, picture, motion-picture film, paper, letter, writing, print, or other matter of indecent character. Whoever knowingly takes or receives from such express company, other common carrier, or interactive computer service any matter or thing where the carriage or importation of which is unlawful as described above.

Section 1465. Transportation of Obscene Matters for Sale or Distribution
Whoever knowingly transports or travels in, or uses a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce or an interactive computer service, for the purpose of sale or distribution of any obscene, lewd, lascivious, or filthy book, pamphlet, picture, motion-picture film, paper, letter, writing, print, or other matter of indecent character material in interstate or foreign commerce.

Section 1466. Engaging in the Business of Selling or Transferring Obscene Matter
Whoever is engaged in the business of selling or transferring obscene matter, who knowingly receives or possesses with intent to distribute any obscene book, magazine, picture, paper, film, videotape, or audio recording, which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

Section 1467. Criminal Forfeiture
A person who is convicted of an offense involving obscene material shall forfeit to the United States any obscene material produced, transported, mailed, shipped, or received in violation of Sections 1462-1466; any property constituting gross profits or other proceeds obtained from such offenses; and any property used or intended to be used to commit or to promote the commission of such offenses.

Section 1470. Transfer of Obscene Material to Minors
Whoever, using the mail or any facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly transfers or attempts to transfer obscene material to another individual who has not attained the age of 16 years.

Section 2241(a)(c). Aggravated Sexual Abuse
Whoever, in the territorial jurisdiction of the Unites States or in a federal prison knowingly causes or attempts to cause another person to engage in a sexual act by using force against that other person, threatening or placing them in fear that another person will be subjected to death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping. Whoever knowingly crosses a state line with intent to engage in a sexual act with a person who has not attained the age of 12 years; or in the territorial jurisdiction of the Unites States or in a federal prison engages in a sexual act with a person who has not attained the age of 12 years; or whoever engages in a sexual activity by using force, threat, or other means described above, with an individual who has attained 12 years but has not attained 16 years of age.

Section 2243. Sexual Abuse of a Minor or Ward
Whoever, in the territorial jurisdiction of the Unites States or in a federal prison knowingly engages in a sexual act (or attempts to do so) with another person who has attained the age of 12 years but not 16 years and is at least four years younger than the person so engaging.

Section 2251(a)(b)(c). Sexual Exploitation of Children
Any person who employs, uses, persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any minor to engage in; or who has a minor assist any other person to engage in; or who transports any minor in interstate or foreign commerce with the intent that such minor engage in, any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct. This statute applies when the person knows that such visual depiction will be, or has actually been, transported in interstate or foreign commerce or mailed. Any parent, legal guardian, person, or organization having custody or control of a minor who knowingly permits such minor to engage in or assists any person to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct. This statute also applies if such visual depiction will be or has actually been transported in interstate or foreign commerce, mailed, and/or such depiction was produced with materials that have been mailed, shipped, or transported in interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer. Any person, who knowingly prints, publishes, or causes to be made, any notice or advertisement seeking or offering to receive, exchange, buy, produce, display, distribute, or reproduce any visual depiction involving the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. This statute also applies when such person knows that such notice or advertisement will be, or has been, transported in interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer.

Section 2251A(a)(b). Selling or Buying of Children
Any parent, legal guardian, or other person having custody or control of a minor who sells, offers to sell, or otherwise transfers custody or control of such minor with knowledge that, as a consequence of the sale or transfer, the minor will be portrayed in a visual depiction engaging in, or assisting another person to engage in sexually explicit conduct. Any person who purchases, offers to purchase, or otherwise obtains custody or control of a minor with knowledge that, as a consequence of the sale or transfer, the minor will be portrayed in a visual depiction engaging in, or assisting another person to engage in sexually explicit conduct.

Section 2252. Certain Activities Relating to Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors
Any person who knowingly possesses in the territorial jurisdiction of the United States one or more images, books, magazines, periodicals, films, videotapes, or other matter which contain any visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Any person who knowingly transports or ships in interstate or foreign commerce, by any means including by computer or mail, any visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Any person who knowingly receives, reproduces, or distributes any visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct that has been mailed, or has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce. Any person who knowingly sells, or possesses with intent to sell, any visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct that has been mailed, or has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

Section 2252A. Certain Activities Relating to Material Constituting or Containing Child Pornography
Any person who knowingly mails, transports, or ships in interstate or foreign commerce child pornography by any means, including by computer. Any person who knowingly receives or distributes any child pornography or any book, magazine, film, videotape, computer disk, or any other material containing child pornography that has been mailed, transported, or shipped in interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer. Any person who knowingly reproduces any child pornography for distribution through the mail, or in interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer. Any person who knowingly sells or possesses with the intent to sell any child pornography. At times, portions of this Section may not apply when the individual is in possession of less than three child pornography images and in good faith promptly took reasonable steps to destroy each image, report the matter to a law enforcement agency, and/or afford that agency access to the image.

Section 2253. Criminal Forfeiture and Section 2254. Civil Forfeiture
A person who is convicted of an offense under Sections 2251, 2251A, 2252, 2252A, 2260 or Sections 2421, 2422, 2423 shall forfeit any visual depiction described in Section 2251, 2251A, 2252; any property constituting gross profits or other proceeds obtained from such offense; and any property used or intended to be used to commit or to promote the commission of the above offenses.

Section 2260(a)(b). Production of Sexually Explicit Depictions of a Minor for Importation into the United States
A person outside the U.S. who employs, uses, persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any minor to engage in, or who has a minor assist any other person to engage in, or who transports any minor in with the intent that such minor engage in any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct, intending that the visual depiction will be imported into the U.S. or waters within 12 miles of a U.S. coast. A person outside the U.S. who knowingly receives, transports, ships, distributes, or possesses with intent to transport, ship, sell or distribute any visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, intending that the visual depiction will be imported into the U.S. or waters within 12 miles of a U.S. coast.

Section 2421. Transportation Generally
Whoever knowingly transports any individual in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, with intent that such individual engage in prostitution or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.

Section 2422. Coercion and Enticement
Whoever knowingly persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any individual to travel in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, to engage in prostitution or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.

Section 2423(a). Transportation of Minors with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity
Whoever knowingly transports or attempts to transport any individual under the age of 18 years in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, with intent that the individual engage in prostitution or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.

Section 2423(b). Interstate or Foreign Travel with Intent to Engage in a Sexual Act with a Juvenile
Whoever knowingly travels or conspires to do so in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, with the intent to engage in any sexual activity with a person under 18 years of age for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.

Section 2425. Use of Interstate Facilities to Transmit Information About a Minor
Whoever, using the mail or any facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly initiates or attempts to initiate the transmission of the name, address, telephone number, social security number, or electronic mail address of any individual who has not attained the age of 16 years with the intent to entice, encourage, offer, or solicit that minor to engage in any sexual activity that can be charged as a criminal offense.

The following statute is a summary from the Federal Criminal Code and Rules under Title 42 of the United States Code (USC). Section 14072. Pam Lychner Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act of 1996
A registered sex offender must notify and register with both the FBI and state authorities within 10 days of moving to a new state. Registration includes providing a current address, fingerprints, and photograph for inclusion in the FBI's National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR).:
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